satellite view from PMNM
E komo mai; welcome! Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge is surrounded by a lei of foam in the middle of the North Pacific; it's a beautiful, special place.

Not only are there albatross on Midway, but many other interesting kinds of wildlife, both on the land and in the sea. Please enjoy exploring FOAM, an educational blog actively done while on Midway from May through August 2010. Posts are added from off-Midway, as information becomes available. If you're interested in a particular topic, please use the search box or the alphabetical list of "labels" along the left side of the blog page.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Strange Cloud

Clouds over Midway are some of the most beautiful I've seen anywhere. Which blue do you like the best in the picture on the left?!

In the right-hand picture above, notice the blue on the underside of the cloud, right above the naupaka bushes.  Sometimes Hawaiian sailing-canoe navigators are far out at sea, and can't see any land.  But, if they see a cloud with blue on it, they know it's reflecting the color of shallow water.  That tells them there's an island underneath the cloud!

But, as pretty as those clouds are, I wouldn't say they're strange.  The strangest cloud I've seen while here on Midway is called a "sun dog." 

One day while I was working in the volunteer office, Greg came running inside and said, "Hurry up!  Come outside!  There's a sun dog up in the sky!"  WHAT?! 

Of course I dropped what I was doing and followed him outdoors.  There was no dog hanging in the air.  But looking a bit to the side of the Sun* we saw what is truly called a "sun dog."  There, in the sky above us, was a faint, circular rainbow around the Sun. It's caused by sunlight passing through ice crystals in cirrus clouds high in the atmosphere.

Now that's a strange cloud!

[*By the way, NEVER LOOK AT THE SUN!  You'll damage the lining of your eyes, which is where you see!!]

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